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scientific articles

Cardiovascular Complications and Risk of Death in Sickle-cell Disease

key information

source: Lancet

year: 2016

authors: Gladwin MT


In sickle-cell disease, a point mutation in the β-globin chain causes haemoglobin to polymerise within erythrocytes during deoxygenation, altering red blood cell rheology and causing haemolysis. Improvements in health infrastructure, preventive care, and clinical treatments have reduced the morbidity and mortality of sickle-cell disease in developed countries. However, as these patients live longer, the chronic effects of sustained haemolytic anaemia and episodic vaso-occlusive events drive the development of end-organ complications. Cardiopulmonary organ dysfunction and chronic kidney injury have a large effect on morbidity and premature mortality, and typically accelerate in the second decade of life. These processes culminate in the development of pulmonary hypertension, left ventricular diastolic heart disease, dysrhythmia, and sudden death. In this Series paper, we review the mechanisms, clinical features, and epidemiology of major cardiovascular complications in patients with sickle-cell disease and discuss how screening and intervention could reduce their incidence.

organization: Pittsburgh Heart, Lung, Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine; Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00647-4

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